Streamline Your Shoppers’ Path to Purchase

This article is part of a series about the core services Cheek Marketing & Insights offers. In it, we provide some basic details about the challenges we solve, the techniques we might use, and the general results you can expect. Since every situation is different, please get in touch if this sparks your interest. We’ll discuss your circumstances, and how we can help.

Why You Need an Optimized Path to Purchase

Whether you are a retailer, or provide a product or service, it is important to understand how your customers find, research, choose, and buy from you.

Path to purchase research can give you an understanding of the various touchpoints–owned websites and social media, paid ads, word-of-mouth, press, reviews, sales reps, etc.–they encounter and seek during the process. Studying and mapping these leads to a Path to Purchase–a document showing which touchpoints are used, in what order, and what functions they serve.

Once you understand the general path to purchase your customers take, you can adjust your marketing activities to help customers along each phase of their decision. Indeed, this optimized path to purchase can help grow sales and increase customer satisfaction.

How We Research Path to Purchase

To give us a starting point, we conduct interviews with your customers, and sometimes customers of competitor brands. In them, we are focusing on processes and touchpoints–how did your customers find, interact with, and ultimately buy your product through ads, reviews, sales, and other channels.

To do a deep dive and validate our learnings, the next step is to field a survey. The respondents will be buyers of your brand or competitive set. The goal will be to drill down on the touchpoints used, timing, order, and what they gained at each stage. With ideally hundreds of responses, we can build a model of the buying journey. Of course, a model is only as good as what you can do with it.

How to Apply the Model

The applications of a path to purchase can be wide-ranging, affecting everything from budget mix to messaging to sales force training. Here are some example findings, and possible responses:

Shoppers are trying to compare multiple brands and models before buying: Create elegant, interactive tools that help buyers get the information they need. Make them prominently available and use digital ads to drive shoppers to them. Use paid search campaigns to find shoppers who may be comparing products in your category.

Buyers seek impartial information and opinions: Actively solicit third-party reviews. Use reviews and testimonials in marketing materials. Amplify positive word-of-mouth on social media.

Recommendations from close friends and family play an outsize role in decision making: Advertising portraying the product as a family tradition might cement the idea of recommending to a loved one. Also, a program rewarding recommendations could increase sharing about the product.

Customers are going to stores to try the product before ultimately buying online: Bolster your retail marketing to ensure your products are prominently displayed. Offer in-store incentives to close the sale on-site. Use liberal try-on/return policies to allay customers’ fears about buying online.

These are all hypotheticals. However, a thorough analysis of your data, follow-up surveys to clarify findings, and strategic brainstorming can generate a set of clear recommendations for you. Understanding and optimizing the path to purchase is a smart way to make your marketing more effective.

If this sounds like a fit for your business, let’s talk!

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